Monday, June 8, 2009

An epic candlepin series

The second stop on the Vermont Public Radio tour of Vermont Candlepin Bowling centers was made on Saturday, June 6 when VPR Classical's Joe Goetz and VPR's Ric Cengeri traveled to Upper Valley Lanes & Games in White River Junction.

In a battle reminiscent of the 1964 World Series between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, this one wasn't decided until the late frames of Game 7. It was the young upstart (Joe) taking on the seasoned veteran (I previously bowled two games of candlepin a few weeks before in Derby). Joe made up for his lack of experience by viewing hours of old candlepin broadcasts on youtube. He spent as much time preparing for his candlepin debut as he did when learning Chopin's Scherzo No.2 in B Flat Minor.

The two bowlers had contrasting styles. Joe started at the back of the lane, taking long strides, throwing the ball hard and fast. I reduced my approach to three steps and took a slow steady swing with the ball.

Amazingly, through six games and seven frames, we were locked in a tie. We had each won three games and had the exact same cumulative score through those 67 frames. Then in the 8th frame of the seventh and deciding game, Joe notched a spare while I scored 9. It proved to be the difference as Joe went on to win the final game, 81-79. His cumulative score was also better: 550-549.

So for now, Joe Goetz, the classically trained pianist and self-taught bowler stands as VPR's Candlepin Champ.

Click here to learn more about Candlepin bowling in Vermont.

(In addition to White River Junction and Derby, there are candlepin bowling centers in Canaan and Wilmington, Vermont)

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